A single serving of beer, wine, or spirits clocks in at about 125 calories, and it's obvious that those calories can add up if you overindulge. Thing is, it doesn't end there. Ever notice that during a night of drinking, a plate of chicken wings or nachos suddenly appears in front of you? A recent study published in Obesity helps explain why. Researchers found that alcohol makes women's brains more sensitive to the smell of food, leading them to eat more.
Ever find yourself at the end of a workout, and you've barely even broken a sweat? Real-time feedback from a wearable device that tracks heart rate or calories burned may inspire you to push yourself harder. (Plus, you'll feel more connected to your training.) Try the Fitbit Charge HR ($140; amazon.com), Withings Pulse 02 ($100; amazon.com), or the Intel Basis Peak ($173, amazon.com).
OK, so you’re not dieting. That means that, yes, you can actually have those French fries. Just probably not every day. Consider quantity as a sliding scale, from limited fries and candy to unlimited veggies, and fill in from there with moderate portions of meat and beans (for protein), whole grains, and low-fat dairy. (The government is onto something with that whole MyPlate thing.) “An extreme example: If someone ate only 600 calories of jelly beans a day, yes, they’d lose weight, but not support their health,” says Hensrud. But they’d be pretty hungry and unsatisfied once the 60 or so jelly beans (or 150 smaller Jelly Bellys) were gone. (Note: We’re also not suggesting 600 as your target calorie count, but you get what we’re saying.)
Just because you worked out this morning doesn’t give you an excuse to park your car closer to your office or to take the elevator instead of the stairs. French researchers discovered that when obese teens exercised, they compensated by decreasing their activity later in the day. Similarly, another study in older adults revealed that exercising failed to increase overall daily calorie burn because participants were sedentary the rest of the day.
In addition, eat healthy foods throughout the day to keep your glucose, which fuels your body, at a high level so that you feel energized and satisfied. You'll also be better able to resist cravings when you snack on nutritious choices like fruits and vegetables, low-fat yogurt, and whole-grain bread topped with a little peanut butter, according to a recent study that showed that eating consistently helps us control our impulses.
For patients at or near their ideal body weight who do not need significant reshaping in an area, non-surgical treatments can be a great option to reduce isolated pockets of diet and exercise resistant fat without surgery, and with little to no downtime. However, it is important to have realistic expectations about what results a non-surgical treatment can achieve.
“I tell all of my celebrity and professional-athlete clients to get between 6 and 8 hours of sleep per night. Everyone is overly focused on food, water and exercise, all of which are extremely imperative to weight loss and optimal health. However, without proper sleep, all of these the other factors are null and void. When you don’t get enough sleep, levels of the hormone leptin drop, which increases appetite. This surge in appetite makes comfort food more appealing, which can derail weight loss efforts.” — Jay Cardiello, celebrity fitness and nutrition expert
Men and women squirrel away fat differently, according to Harris-Pincus. On average, women have six to 11 percent more body fat than men. That extra fat typically gathers lower on the body (especially before they hit menopause) around the hips and thighs, creating a pear-shape. Men, on the other hand, tend to accumulate fat around the belly (hence, the beer gut).
“The best thing you can do for your belly is to give up processed foods. A study in the journal Food Nutrition Research found that our bodies burn only 50 percent as many calories digesting processed foods as they do real foods. So it’s like eating twice as much, even if the calories are the same!” — Mark Langowski, celebrity trainer and author of Eat This, Not That! for Abs
Sleep takes all that hard work you’re doing in the kitchen and the gym, and fast tracks those results. A good night’s sleep helps your body recover from activity and also regulates hormones responsible for hunger cues. “Sleep is essential [for fat loss and overall health]. It’s recommended that adults get 7-8 hours per night. There are a lot of studies on [sleep and fat loss], showing that good sleep can help us eat better and help us to lose weight,” says White. The two specific hormones sleep has an influence over are leptin and ghrelin. Leptin works to keep your energy steady and appetite low. Alternatively, ghrelin increases feelings of hunger. When you fail to get adequate sleep, ghrelin is increased and leptin is decreased, which messes with your hunger signals and can cause you to eat more. By getting your 7-8 hours a night you’ll avoid any wacky cravings and emotional eating, which will make your fat-loss goals that much easier to achieve.
To get the best measurement, use a flexible tape measure. Wrap it around the widest part of your stomach, across your belly button. The tape measure should rest gently on your skin; not so loose that it falls away and not so tight that it digs into your skin. Once the tape measure is positioned correctly, breathe in and then take the measurement on the exhale.
You don’t have to go low-carb to ditch those extra pounds around your waist in a short period of time. In fact, opting for more whole grains might just get you there faster. Researchers at Tufts University have linked eating three or more daily servings of whole grains to as much as a 10 percent reduction in visceral body fat, the kind that ups your risk for chronic diseases, like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Um, running? Your dedication to distance running is admirable, but if that's your main weight-loss activity, it's time for a rethink. You should consider mixing some weightlifting days into your schedule (see question 5) and incorporating lots of explosive exercises into your routine (see question 8). But you're a runner, and we get that. We also know that lots of fitness-loving guys tend to overestimate their calorie burn and do too much of the same training. To compound the problem, they'll then reward themselves with excessive recovery meals, says Janet Hamilton, MA, C.S.C.S., an exercise physiologist at Running Strong in Atlanta. If you're sticking to running, Hamilton says it's a matter of mixing things up: "To build your body so it can tolerate longer and harder bouts of exercise—and burn more calories—mix up your training with hard and easy days." Below is Hamilton's prescription.
Instead of doing a detox or cleanse in the hopes of resetting your GI system (and speeding up weight loss), boost your gut health naturally with fiber-filled foods. “Fiber is a carbohydrate found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, but unlike other forms of carbohydrates, it is harder to digest. As it passes through your digestive system, it stimulates the receptors that tell your brain you’re full. People who consume more fiber tend to have healthier body weights,” says Gueron. If you’re looking for more specific fiber-filled foods to reboot your gut, eat the three P’s: prunes, pulses, and pears. Prunes help maintain good digestive health and can positively affect the bacteria living in the gut. Pulses, which include lentils, beans, and peas, improve gut health by strengthening the gut barrier. And pears contain prebiotic fiber, which help promote intestinal health by providing food for beneficial probiotic bacteria.
Add a cup of low-fat milk, a part-skim mozzarella stick, or a half cup of low-sodium cottage cheese to breakfast, and you may have a belly-busting win. While lots of research links calcium with lower body weights, results from a 2014 study suggest that calcium-containing foods may reduce waist circumference in those genetically predisposed to carrying weight in their midsection.
One of the very first cardio exercises to reduce belly fat is walking. Surprised? Do you think it’s too simple to be effective? Well, then you should know that walking is a great and effective way to burn away that ugly belly fat. In fact, it is an excellent fat burner for your entire body. If you follow a healthy diet along with walking at a steady pace for 30-45 minutes for at least four to five days every week, you will witness a gradual decrease in your weight.
If you are sleeping so much that you forego exercise and normal daily activity in favor of staying in bed, then yes, you can gain fat. However, getting between 7-9 hours of sleep per night (or however much you need to not feel tired -- everyone's needs are different) is part of being healthy overall. There is actually evidence that getting too little sleep can contribute to unwanted fat gain, because it increases levels of cortisol (your body's stress hormone) which can disrupt your metabolism. So, you should aim to get a good night's sleep always, and especially if you are trying to reduce fat.
Grains get a bad rap when it comes to weight loss, but that's because refined grains (read: processed foods!) are linked to wider waists. 100% whole grains are bloat-busting superstars, however, as they're packed with minerals and de-puff by counter-balancing salt. Stick to brown rice, quinoa, wheat, barley, millet, farro, sorghum, and amaranth for the biggest benefits.
You don't really want dessert, but your friends are having some, and they're urging you to join them. So you give in and order a piece of tiramisu. Sorry to say it, but you've just committed sociotropy, aka people pleasing, a behavior that can make you gain weight. In a recent study, women and men who regularly experienced negative emotions like guilt, anxiety, and anger, and were impulsive and disorganized, tended to be heavier than those who were more even-keeled. "Women score slightly higher than men on people-pleasing measures," says Julie Exline, PhD, an associate professor of psychology at Case Western Reserve University. That may be because guys are raised to be assertive while women are socialized to value relationships and "basically to be nicer," Exline explains. In other words, we're inclined to go along with what the rest of the group wants to do, which includes digging into the tiramisu after dinner. If you feel pressured to pig out, "tell your friends politely but firmly that you're fine with what you have and that you're not hungry for more right now," Exline advises. Hold your ground and your pals will get the message.
But what we’re interested in is the opposite of this… a caloric deficit. This is what happens when we consume LESS than our maintenance level amount. What happens then is that our bodies are forced to find some other source of energy to burn instead. And guess what that source most often is? Yup… your own stored body fat! And this is the one and only cause of fat loss.
This is what I do, maybe it will help other readers. I of course try to plan my meals to an extent to keep it as balanced as I can but I also carry a little notebook around with me. Every day I write my total calorie intake limit at the top of the page and every time I intake calorie, no matter what it is, I subtract it from the total I have available. When I reach zero I stop eating for the day. Most days, if I stick to my planned meals I make it thru the entire day but sometimes I eat a little more then I should or I’m really craving something and I run out early and have to skip my late evening snack or even dinner.
When you sleep more, you simply have less time to eat, and studies have shown you may also make better food choices. But it’s deeper than that. Those who are sleep deprived have higher levels of ghrelin—a hormone that stimulates appetite—circulating in their blood, which causes an increase in hunger. In other words, your body’s hormonal response to being tired is to tell you to eat more. Give it a rest, instead. It’s really just as critical as choosing kale over cookies.
Most people ignore their lymphatic system, but it needs to function efficiently for the rest of your systems to work well. Pros like Lauren Roxburgh say that stimulating lymph—by foam rolling regularly, for instance—gets rid of waste buildup that may be causing your body to hold onto weight. While there isn’t a lot of research indicating a direct link, research does also show foam rolling affects the nervous system, stimulating a relaxation response—and you know what we said earlier about how crucial stress relief is here.
Do not try to lose weight too rapidly. Crash diets and diet pills that promise weight loss are usually bad for you and actually don't help keep the weight off in the long run. Resist the urge to take the "easy" way out and instead stick with a healthier lifestyle. This way you lose the weight and improve your health, helping you keep the weight off in a way that won't harm you in the long run.
Listen up: Skipping meals will not make you lose weight faster. If a hectic day makes a sit-down meal impossible, stash an energy bar or a piece of fruit in your car or tote, keep snacks in your office desk drawer, and make a point of getting up to grab a nosh — anything that will keep you from going hungry! Going long periods of time without food does double-duty harm on our healthy eating efforts by both slowing down your metabolism, and priming you for another binge later in the day. (Think: You've skipped breakfast and lunch, so you're ready to takedown a whole turkey by dinner!) Make it your mission to eat three meals and two snacks every day, and don't wait longer than three to four hours without eating. Set a "snack alarm" on your phone if needed.
It's not like we're obsessed with being something we're not, but a flatter belly or looser jeans asap would definitely come in handy for an impromptu beach weekend or party where we expect to see an ex. The thing is, most of us don't think it's possible to look 5 pounds thinner that fast. But here's a shocker: It's do-able. And you don't need to go on some long-term, healthy foods diet to lose weight that quickly.
But don’t lose hope just yet. You can still incorporate strategies that help you lose total body fat, which will benefit your belly. At the end of the day, nothing sheds belly fat like diet, exercise, and everyday changes to your lifestyle. The slimmer stomach of your dreams is always within reach, but it takes time and dedication. Commit to these habits, and you’ll start dropping pounds before you know it.
While cardio burns calories as you work out, strength training will help you burn more calories even while you rest. “The beautiful thing about strength training is that not only do you get sculpted and toned muscles, but the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism is,” says Hoff. A faster metabolism means more calories burned, and in turn faster weight loss. Hoff says incorporating strength training two to three times a week is ideal. “No need for heavy weights; you can build muscle by using your own body weight and exercise bands.”
If you haven’t picked up on the importance of preparation, then we haven’t done our job. It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in your busy schedule and forget to put a priority on health and what actions contribute to it. “People don’t plan for the week as far as writing their workout times in the calendar. If you write them down you’re 30% more likely to stay adherent to your workout. Write them down as you would any doctor’s appointment and try to shoot for sticking with it,” says White. The more workouts you check off, the faster you’re going to see results. Do yourself a favor and book that bike ahead of time—you’ll eliminate the opportunity for lame excuses by making a real commitment to your sweat sessions.
That’s according to a study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “Our study is the first of its kind to systematically examine the association of weight gain from early to middle adulthood with major health risks later in life,” said senior author Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the school, said. The study analyzed data from nearly 93,000 participants.
If not bothersome I’d like to ask you a specific question that I don’t believe I’ve seen on your website. I know the sole factor of fat loss is calorie deficit and am happy with the weight loss I’ve achieved in the past 9 weeks. I will attend a friend’s wedding for a week next week and don’t imagine I will be able to maintain my current diet. I’ve read from other sources discussing how you should “SLOWLY” increase your calorie consumption to avoid your body storing fat. I will certainly not eat 4,000 calories during my trip but my question will be if it’s OK for me to jump back to “maintenance level” calorie consumption or you would recommend me doing “15% Deficit on Day 1, 10% Deficit on Day 2…etc.”?
3. Tabata: Tabata is another form of interval training and involves 8 rounds of 20 seconds exercise followed by 10 seconds rest. Sounds easy enough but exercise should be done at a high intensity. This exercise can be done using rowing machines, dumbbells or thrusters. This is a tough exercise and is best for those who have very less time in their hands.
You must have noticed that some of your friends eat a lot of sugar-based foods, fried foods, or cold drinks. Yet, they manage to have a flat stomach, the reason being they have a very high metabolic rate. If your metabolism is not good, you may have a bloated stomach. Thyroid conditions, diabetes, and other medical conditions can be the reasons for slow metabolism.